Viking Settlement: How the Vikings Settled Down in Conquered Land

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Viking Settlement: How the Vikings Settled Down in Conquered Land?

The Vikings started their raiding tradition with small raids with a group of seafarers. Such small raids gradually turned into conquests by the large army. Generally, the Vikings once applied the run-and-hit tactics on the plundered site. They used to pay no attention to control the territory. But as time progressed, the ancestral land could not fulfil their ambition, they conquered new land and started settling down in these new land. But how did the Vikings settle down in the newly conquered land?

Farewell to the ancestral land did not mean farewell to the traditional living pattern. The Vikings still chose to live like their fathers once did. They chose the coastline region to settle down. Living in the coastline regions meant they could work with their great ships not only for raiding but also for fishing. 

Viking settlement in L'Anse aux Meadows

Viking settlement in L'Anse aux Meadows. The Viking first settled down in North America proved by this site

The Viking houses in their newly conquered lands were built with the ancient Viking way with stone foundations. The walls were often made with a mixture of materials. The farmstead of the Vikings stood on flat and well-drain land and next to it was the gazing area for the animals. 

A chieftain was still in the lead and everyone would have to listen to the judgement of their chieftain. 

The Vikings had a traditional farming economy. They focused on the barley and raising the cattle like sheep, horses, pigs, etc. The Vikings still carried on fishing. Their main marine supply included the seaweed, fish, and shellfish. They caught the seabirds for eggs as well. 

The shieling was the system of pasturage in the Viking Age. It was commonly constructed in the upland area. Around the shieling, the Vikings built up the small huts, barns, and fences around. 

One famous Viking settlement is the Toftanes. The site is rested in the village of Leirvík. The end of the 20th century witnessed the investigation of the site revealing many interesting things. 

Viking farm at Toftanes

The farmland in Toftanes seen from the north (Credit: S.S. Hansen)

The site includes four buildings. The longhouse measured  20m (~61.6 ft) in length and its walls were 1m thick. The archaeologists concluded that the longhouse had a very outstanding windproof system. The buildings around were much smaller compared with the longhouse. Some of them were the house for food production and the firehouse. 

The artifacts recovered from this Viking farmland have been drawing attention from the Viking enthusiasts. A large number of well-preserved wooden objects revealed themselves from the surface. Some of the artifacts belonged to the Scandinavian regions and some imported from other regions. This suggests how great was the Viking international trading network. 

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